Smart Sector Coupling

Das Bild zeigt fünf weiße Waben auf blauem Grund, welche für die Sektorenkopplung auf Systemebene stehen. In jeder Wabe sind Symbole hinterlegt.

New technology

Amprion is presenting its planned large-scale Power-to-Gas project with Open Grid Europe (OGE) on an international stage: on 17 October 2018 Gerald Kaendler, Head of Asset Management at Amprion, gave a presentation at the Madrid Forum. Among other things, one focus topic was the question of how the innovative technology can be implemented in the existing regulatory framework.

At the Madrid Forum, representatives of the EU Commission, European governments, the gas industry and regulatory authorities regularly meet to discuss topical questions relating to the regulation of the EU gas market. The fact that Amprion was also invited to take part in this discussion as a representative of the electricity industry once again shows how important it is that the existing infrastructures grow even closer together in future.

Sector Coupling: Outlook and Implementation

Coupling the electricity transmission network and the gas transmission network with Power-to-Gas can bring significant benefits. A new study by Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik GmbH on behalf of Amprion and OGE confirms that compared with implementation of the energy transition with the exclusive use of electric technologies, the systems help to avoid CO2 emissions more cost effectively and thus make climate protection more economical (negative CO2 avoidance costs). A Power-to-Gas system enables the transformation of one energy form to another, here from electricity to hydrogen or methane. In principle, it is a transformer in the classic sense (sector transformer).

With the Amprion and OGE concept, the sector transformer is planned, built and operated by the transmission system operators – like the existing electricity and gas network infrastructure. The infrastructure is then made available to third parties on a non-discriminatory basis.

As the “bridge capacity” between the systems is limited, the network operators auction off the capacity of the sector transformer at any time to dealers or direct customers. This is comparable with the auctioning of electricity transport capacities at 29 European borders by the Joint Allocation Office.

The location is decisive for the successful use of such a system: a sector transformer must be installed at a suitable point of contact between the electricity and gas transport networks to implement the system transition in a physically sensible and economically efficient way. The sector transformer should only use the renewable energy that cannot be used efficiently elsewhere – such as in the electricity system. The use of the sector transformer is particularly efficient for medium to strong renewable energy feed-in when the electrical loads are largely covered by the regeneratively generated electricity.

Thanks to system integration of high-performance Power-to-Gas plants, Europe can establish itself as a global technology leader. This is why the development of the plants on an industrial scale and their integration into the existing energy system must start now. In Germany, Amprion and OGE plan to build a system with a power range of 50 to 100 MW. The precise political and regulatory framework will be developed in conjunction with political decision-makers and stakeholders.